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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - More than a year after a Native American girl was killed and her tribe was criticized for not having an alert system in place when children go missing, the Navajo Nation has signed a contract to purchase the software it needed to get the notification system running by the end of this month.

The tribe, whose reservation is the largest in the U.S. and spans three western states, came under fierce criticism in 2016 after 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike was reported missing. She never made it home from her school bus stop and was found dead the next day, killed by a stranger who sexually assaulted her and struck her twice in the head with a crowbar.

An Amber Alert that would have sent information about her via cellphone messages and information to the media did not go out until the day she was found. The case raised questions about gaps in communication and coordination between tribal and local law enforcement.

Callers Representing More Than 50 Tribal Nations Reach Out To StrongHearts Native Helpline for Culturally-Based Support for Domestic Violence

AUSTIN, Texas – In its first eight months of operations, the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) has taken calls from Native Americans affected by domestic violence representing 53 tribal nations across 38 states, demonstrating the widespread need for culturally-rooted resources to support tribal communities affected by intimate partner abuse.

As South Dakota headed into December of 1890 there was serious consternation among the colonists about a religious ceremony appearing on the Indian reservations called the Ghost Dance.

Shortly after allowing the ceremony to take place at his home on Standing Rock the great Lakota leader Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull) was assassinated by the Tribal Police. A few days after his death the Bismarck Tribune wrote on December 19, 1890: “Another old-timer, Sitting Bull, is no more. To be sure Sitting Bull was only an Indian and the possessor of a bad record, yet there is something pathetic in the manner of his sudden disappearance from the cares of life.”

DENVER – The American Indian College Fund Native scholars at Harvard Law School have what it takes to succeed. A law degree is the foundation to creating strong future leaders. Thanks to a gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor, the American Indian College Fund will award the first American Indian Law School Scholarship in the fall of the 2018-19 academic year. The scholarship covers all costs of attendance, including tuition for the three-year course of study at Harvard Law School, for one Native student.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “Indigenous students and scholars know they are carrying the tremendous responsibility of protecting and honoring who we are as the First People of this country. To do this, we need educated individuals who understand the complexities of our diversity, the laws of our peoples, and the laws of this land. This gift provides a remarkable resource so that we can educate people needed to ensure Native prosperity.” 

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump made a curious case for stripping federal protections from vast stretches of two of America's national monument lands.

For one, he said his decision will give Native Americans back their "rightful voice over the sacred land." But they already have specified rights on the land, thanks to the national monument designation under the Antiquities Act, and fear losing those rights under his decision. That's why they're fighting his action in court.

Trump also said that because of his decision, "families will hike and hunt on land they have known for generations, and they will preserve it for generations to come. Cattle will graze along the open range. Sweeping landscapes will inspire young Americans to dream beyond the horizon."

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) – A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in Arizona.

Navajo Nation officials say George B. Willie Sr. died Tuesday at age 92.

Tribal officials say Willie lived in the community of Leupp, Arizona.

He served in the Marine Corps with the Second Marine Division from 1943 to 1946.

According to his family, Willie served in the Battle of Okinawa, delivering and receiving coded messages using the Navajo language.

He and other Navajos followed in the footsteps of the original 29 who developed the code and received the Congressional Silver Medal in 2001.

Willie is survived by his wife Emma, 10 children and several grandchildren.

A celebration of life is scheduled Dec. 8 at the Presbyterian Church in Leupp.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Outdoor retailing giant Patagonia on Wednesday joined a flurry of lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump's decision to chop up two large national monuments in Utah could finally bring an answer to the much-debated question of whether presidents have the legal authority to undo or change monuments created by past presidents.

Until that question is answered months or years from now, the fate of the contested lands in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments will remain unresolved.

Proclamations signed Monday by the president allow lands no longer protected as a national monument to be opened up in 60 days to mining, but conservation and tribal groups will likely try to keep that from happening.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - President Donald Trump's rare move to shrink two large national monuments in Utah triggered another round of outrage among Native American leaders who vowed to unite and take the fight to court to preserve protections for lands they consider sacred.

Environmental and conservation groups and a coalition of tribes joined the battle Monday and began filing lawsuits that ensure that Trump's announcement is far from the final chapter of the yearslong public lands battle. The court cases are likely to drag on for years, maybe even into a new presidency.

Trump decided to reduce Bears Ears - created last December by President Barack Obama - by about 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante - designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton - by nearly half. The moves earned him cheers from Republican leaders in Utah who lobbied him to undo protections they considered overly broad.

Conservation groups called it the largest elimination of protected land in American history.

If I sound a little bit angry today, I am.

What started out as a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” has become a government of “for the Party, for the rich, and for religion. Both political parties have become slaves to their political donors. Staying in office means raising a lot of money and raising money means bowing to the interests of the millionaires and corporations.

How does a man who loses the popular vote by 3 million votes still become President of the United States? It is because of an antiquated political tool known as the Electoral College.

ROWLAND, N.C. (AP) – In Robeson County, North Carolina, the most diverse rural county in America, many often remark at how well residents have overcome the scars of slavery and segregation to get along. The community once was a manufacturing powerhouse dotted with textile factories that have mostly closed up and moved overseas. Last November, it flipped from voting reliably Democratic in presidential elections and backed Donald Trump. 

Now some in the county are divided over racial equality, nationalism and Trump's comments on Muslims and minorities. Many African-Americans in Robeson worry the country is veering in the wrong direction, and point to the president's racially tinged tweets and rhetoric. But many of Trump's supporters think the criticism is overblown or misplaced, and stand behind him and his pledge to revitalize struggling communities. 

Here are some of the voices from a pro-Trump place whose population is split among African-Americans, Native Americans and whites: